I started crying for no apparent reason yesterday. Was it the mess in the kitchen? Not enough to warrant tears. Was it was concern about someone I love? I didn't think so. But of course, it was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the week my mom and I shared more uniquely than any other. She died a few years ago, and there's something about this time when the shadows of the years, and the decapitated chocolate rabbits, and the awful Easter hats, and the music, the glorious music seem to come and sit with me, just like my mother would sit at the piano and I would grab my flute and we would play Easter hymns together.
I found a tiny painted box that she'd kept in her dressing table — in it are odd buttons she'd been meaning to sew back on. The things we mean to do. It's good if they can be contained in a small, painted box — we know where they are at least — when they're all over the map of our lives, we try to grab at them, but there isn't time to do it all, to have it all, to sew it all back on.
This week, Mom, I remember your beauty, I remember how whenever I would start a new novel you would pick up the phone and ask, "What are you going to do to the mother this time?" I remember your brilliance as a jazz pianist, you could have gone pro, but you became a teacher to take care of us. I remember how you went back to grad school to get your masters degree and sat near the piano and did your homework wearing earplugs. I remember how you celebrated the seasons, no matter what, and how Easter was your most happy day.
I suppose every button has a story, every Easter egg that has been lost for years and suddenly appears behind the sofa has a tale to tell of overcoming, I suppose that no one can tell the full story about one's mother, we never get it all. How could we? But this I know — it is a colossal blessing to be the child of a survivor who struggled with everything she had to become a prevailer. This week, Mom, I'm particularly remembering that.